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SUNNYGAL2018's Photo SUNNYGAL2018 Posts: 5,775
12/13/10 10:07 P

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emoticon to you gf!
PLEASE dont feel 'bad' about NOT being 'around here on our Team.. I had not been 'on sparks' in awhile... working SO MUCH (2nd shift and overtime) THEN trying to take care of my precious Moma ... I just didnt have much time left to get online and be active with Sparks... BUT.. for now.. I am laid off at least until middle of Jan. 2011.... SOO I am praying that I can start getting my Spark 'back'...
I totally understand about being on many Teams and dont worry about not coming here daily.. Just staying a 'member' and knowing that YOU are still with us is great! I hope that you remain (if just popping in once in awhile) or MORE if you want :)
that is fine :)
its great to hear from you!!
God bless and Merry Christmas~~
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SunnyGal2018

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SENIORSAXLADY's Photo SENIORSAXLADY Posts: 41,920
12/13/10 12:42 P

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Hi Sunny, Thank you for your words. Don't worry about it. It became much to big to try and do on line. There is so much to learn and say about the 12 steps.

I haven't been on here in ages and I feel ashamed, but I have so many teams and don't want to give any up. I haven't been supportive here at all. I still love you all though. emoticon

Elayne from the west coast of Fl.

"Music is the original mood-altering, non-fattening wonder drug. Ask your doctor if Music is right for you."



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SUNNYGAL2018's Photo SUNNYGAL2018 Posts: 5,775
12/13/10 1:02 A

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((((Elayne)))))
So so sorry I missed out on this WONDERFUL BIBLE STUDY that you shared with the Warriors~~
I appreciate ALL the hard work you put into this. I know that many read it as I have and did enjoy it.
thank you again for your continued support of our Team my dear (((Friend)))
Merry Christmas~
hugs and love to you and yours~

SunnyGal2018

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SENIORSAXLADY's Photo SENIORSAXLADY Posts: 41,920
3/16/10 12:46 P

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I have closed this study as it is really too complicated to try and write down what all is going on and what everyone is feeling. I have learned it is better to do this on a one on one in person. Thank you for all that have participated.
Elayne

Elayne from the west coast of Fl.

"Music is the original mood-altering, non-fattening wonder drug. Ask your doctor if Music is right for you."



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SENIORSAXLADY's Photo SENIORSAXLADY Posts: 41,920
10/26/09 2:24 P

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Step 7. Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.

Step Seven Prayer:

Dear Creator,

I am willing that you should have all of me, good and bad. I pray that you now remove from me every single defect of character that stands in the way of my usefulness to you and my fellows. Grant me strength as I go out from here to do your bidding.

(Taken from Prayers For The Twelve Steps- A Spiritual Journey, Page 20)

Preparing for Step Seven

We prepare for Step Seven by holding nothing back from God--no glimmer of hope in our ability to control. We prepare for Step Seven by making sure that we have overcome the fear of letting go of our defects. We prepare for Step Seven by learning to draw neared to God, by becoming comfortable in God's presence.

Humility is the central idea of Step Seven. By practicing humility we receive the strength necessary to work the steps and achieve satisfactory results. We recognize that a major portion of our lives has been devoted to fulfilling our self-centered desires. We must set aside these prideful, selfish, behavior patterns and realize that humility frees our Spirit. Step Seven requires surrendering our will to God so that we may receive the Serenity necessary to achieve the happiness we seek.

Questions:

1. How are you benefiting from God's presence in your life?

2. What special blessings has God sent your way since you began your Twelve Step Program of Recovery?

3. List examples that indicate you are practicing humility.

4. Which of your negative character traits are becoming positive? Explain how this change is impacting your life.
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Edited by: SENIORSAXLADY at: 11/16/2009 (08:46)
Elayne from the west coast of Fl.

"Music is the original mood-altering, non-fattening wonder drug. Ask your doctor if Music is right for you."



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46A39P's Photo 46A39P Posts: 5,210
10/26/09 12:51 P

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Thank you. I look forward to working on the next step.

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SENIORSAXLADY's Photo SENIORSAXLADY Posts: 41,920
9/22/09 2:40 P

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What a wonderful job you did on Step 6. This is not an easy step. You have done a lot of searching, and I appreciate your honest answers. I'll post Step 7 on Oct. 1, that will give others a chance to work on Step 6 a little longer if they wish. emoticon

Elayne from the west coast of Fl.

"Music is the original mood-altering, non-fattening wonder drug. Ask your doctor if Music is right for you."



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46A39P's Photo 46A39P Posts: 5,210
9/22/09 1:48 P

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Questions for Step 6:

1. What do your fear by having your character defects removed?
I don’t think I fear it. To me, it would be welcomed because I know I would grow and become a better person for it. The trepidation comes in – in becoming painfully aware of my defects. To know there is so much transformation that needs to occur in me. Sometimes, my heart is hardened and I resist and other times I am receptive, open and contrite. It is a battle and I identify that it is not God that creates the hardened heart. That that comes from a lesser place.


2. Identify two character defects you are NOT ready to have removed.
1, That I do not easily forgive a deep injustice. Because if I forgave, then it didn’t matter or who would be punished…but I know I am just punishing myself…It’s like something that spins around and around. If I forgave, then it would mean something other then what it truly means - release. That I would be giving it up, becoming free from it. It would be releasing something I’ve been holding onto that I need to let go of. So, am I not ready to have this defect removed? I’m unsure. But do know I need to let it go to be free from it so I can redirect my focus and attention to where it belongs, with my eyes and heart fixed on God.

2, That I don’t give a situation the benefit of the doubt when I should. Mainly because I’ve been hurt as we all have been. Though I don’t think I’ve recovered as I should have. But do believe I can heal. This is where I need to release and let it go. So, I need to trust in God more. I have faith but need to trust in Him more then I have. I, like all of us, have been hurt while having strong faith. I need to understand that being in this world means that hurts are part of living and life and not a result of God not loving me.


3. Why is it necessary to learn humility before God can remove your defects of character?

It is necessary to learn humility because without it, I would be unable to see my shortcomings and defects. It would be difficult to be truly aware, spiritually prepared or make it difficult to change what I would otherwise be blind to – had I not had a humbled heart. It means giving up on the notion that I can do it on my own and alone.

4. What is interfering with your readiness to have God remove your shortcomings?

Mistrust.


SENIORSAXLADY's Photo SENIORSAXLADY Posts: 41,920
8/27/09 9:24 P

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You're welcome. Take your time. We are not in any race here! You guys let me know when you want me to post Step 7. emoticon

Edited by: SENIORSAXLADY at: 9/7/2009 (11:53)
Elayne from the west coast of Fl.

"Music is the original mood-altering, non-fattening wonder drug. Ask your doctor if Music is right for you."



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46A39P's Photo 46A39P Posts: 5,210
8/27/09 4:47 P

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Hello!

Step 6 is a challenge and I will have to contemplate and really think about it.

Thank you for posting Elayne!

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SENIORSAXLADY's Photo SENIORSAXLADY Posts: 41,920
8/22/09 10:48 A

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Step 6: Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.

Step 6 Prayer:

Dear God,
I am ready for Your help in removing from me the defects of character which I now realize are an obstacle to my recovery. Help me to continue being honest with myself and guide me toward spiritual and mental health.


Step 6 Scripture: James 4:10 "Humble yourselves before the Lord and he will life you up."

We demonstrate our humility by allowing God to lead us through our healing. Our guideline must be His way and not our way.

Discussion of Step 6

The task of removing our ineffective behavior is more that we can handle alone. Step 6 does not indicate that we do the removing; all we have to do is be "entirely ready" for it to happen. We can become ready by faithfully working the steps and being willing to let God assist us in removing our shortcomings. The character traits we want to eliminate are often ingrained patterns of behavior. They will not vanish overnight. We must be patient while God is shaping us into new people. Allowing God to be in control helps us to trust him more completely.

In Step 6, activity ceases for a season. The seeds of change that God planted are allowed time to germinate and grow. Our emotions are allowed time to catch up with our new experiences. We have been plowed and prepared and now we give God's power the necessary time to create us in an internal change.

How do we work Step 6? By being ready to have God bring change into our lives. It is spiritual work. God can't change us unless we are willing to let him do so, and so far we have not asked God for change. We have only become aware of our condition and admitted our need. In future steps we will ask God to remove our shortcomings and to help us set things straight. In this step we wait for God to do some internal work, and we must be sensitive to the changes he is working in our hearts.

We prepare for Step 6 by quieting our minds and opening our hearts. Steps 4 and 5 required a lot of hard work and brought up some painful discoveries about ourselves. Now we can best prepare for the next leg of the journey by making quiet time fro ourselves. We put down our pencils and out on our walking shoes. Taking time to be alone with ourselves and with God helps us to remove the distractions that sometimes shield us from reality.

Questions for Step 6:

1. What do your fear by having your character defects removed?

2. Identify two character defects you are NOT ready to have removed.

3. Why is it necessary to learn humility before God can remove your defects of character?

4. What is interfering with your readiness to have God remove your shortcomings?

"Broken Dreams"

As children bring their broken toys with tears for us to mend,
I brought my broken dreams to God because He was my friend.
But then, instead of leaving Him in peace to work alone,
I hung around and tried to help
with ways that were my own.
At last, I snatched them back and cried,
"How can you be so slow?"
"My child," He said,
"What could I do? You never did let go."
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Edited by: SENIORSAXLADY at: 9/7/2009 (11:52)
Elayne from the west coast of Fl.

"Music is the original mood-altering, non-fattening wonder drug. Ask your doctor if Music is right for you."



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SENIORSAXLADY's Photo SENIORSAXLADY Posts: 41,920
8/20/09 9:22 P

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Yes, I'll post Step 6 on Saturday. I wanted to give everyone time to work on Step 5, but now we can move on ahead. emoticon

Edited by: SENIORSAXLADY at: 9/7/2009 (11:51)
Elayne from the west coast of Fl.

"Music is the original mood-altering, non-fattening wonder drug. Ask your doctor if Music is right for you."



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46A39P's Photo 46A39P Posts: 5,210
8/20/09 9:05 A

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Will you be posting the next step?

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MERCYNGRACE's Photo MERCYNGRACE Posts: 2,229
7/30/09 7:12 A

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I agree!

"Blessed is she who believed, for there will be a fulfillment of those things which were told her from the Lord." Luke1:45
NKJV

Your body keeps an accurate journal regardless of what you write down.

Seven days without God's Word makes one weak. Greg Laurie

Mercyngrace (Sue)
46A39P's Photo 46A39P Posts: 5,210
7/30/09 4:41 A

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SENIORSAXLADY's Photo SENIORSAXLADY Posts: 41,920
7/29/09 11:55 P

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Mercy, I'm glad you are enjoying the discussion. The 12 Steps are a great way for everyone to live. The world would be a better place if we all lived by them. The fist step can be We are powerless over others, which we are.

Edited by: SENIORSAXLADY at: 8/22/2009 (10:52)
Elayne from the west coast of Fl.

"Music is the original mood-altering, non-fattening wonder drug. Ask your doctor if Music is right for you."



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MERCYNGRACE's Photo MERCYNGRACE Posts: 2,229
7/29/09 5:24 P

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I've never worked through these steps but I am enjoying the discussion here.

"Blessed is she who believed, for there will be a fulfillment of those things which were told her from the Lord." Luke1:45
NKJV

Your body keeps an accurate journal regardless of what you write down.

Seven days without God's Word makes one weak. Greg Laurie

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SENIORSAXLADY's Photo SENIORSAXLADY Posts: 41,920
7/21/09 4:11 P

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Thank you so much for sharing from your heart about Step 5. It is important to pick someone you can totally trust and to know you will not be judged. I wish you all the best as you work this Step.

Elayne from the west coast of Fl.

"Music is the original mood-altering, non-fattening wonder drug. Ask your doctor if Music is right for you."



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46A39P's Photo 46A39P Posts: 5,210
7/21/09 3:09 P

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Step 5...

Questions to think about:

1. What can be gained by admitting your faults to another person?

It would help to remind me that I am human and am able to trust someone else, permitting myself to be vulnerable and not fear reprisals AND it would show me that I trust myself to be who I am, to be authentically me. To not be so concerned about what people think and more concerned about what God thinks.

2. What is your resistance to sharing your story with another person?

That they may be judgmental, a critic and cynic and not take it for what it’s worth, which is that I would be less then a person, when in reality it is what makes me who I am the good and the bad.

3. Which of your faults is the most difficult to acknowledge? Why?

That I don’t trust as I should or could.
Because I’ve been deeply hurt.

4. In what ways will admitting to God, to yourself, and to another person stop you from deceiving yourself?

That I am human with human weaknesses that I need to overcome. Everyone has them, I am just another person who will admit I have faulty wiring. If I can come to terms with and reconcile with the past, understand it was a time ago and the present and future don’t have to be the same, where I isolate, where I can trust, although discernment is crucial also. Not everyone is trustworthy. I need to have faith that I will be granted the gift of discernment, so I can move about in the world freely without hesitation.


SENIORSAXLADY's Photo SENIORSAXLADY Posts: 41,920
7/20/09 9:49 A

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Step 5. Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.

Step 5 Prayer: Dear God, my inventory has shown me who I am, yet I ask for Your help in admitting my wrongs to another person and to you. Assure me, and be with me, in this Step, for without this Step I cannot progress in my recovery. With your help, I can do this, and I will do it. A Men

Step 5 requires that we engage in honest confrontations with ourselves and others by admitting our faults to God, to ourselves, and to another person. By doing this, we begin to set aside our pride and see ourselves in true perspective. We also realize how our growing relationship with God gives us the courage to examine ourselves, accept who we are, and reveal our true selves. Step 5 helps us to acknowledge and discard our old survival skills and move toward a new and healthier life.

How do we work step 5? By bringing our Step 4 inventory to God in prayerful admission. We are honest with ourselves, by looking oursleves in the eye, and read our inventory. We share our inventory with someone we can trust, someone who will understand, soeone who will encourage and not condemn us.

Preparing for Step 5.

We prepare for Step 5 by scheduling an undistracted time with God and with ourselves. We prepare by prayerfully searching for another person to talk to about or inventory. We also prepare by asking God for help in completing this step. Sometimes our tendency is to round off the edges and water down the truth of our inventor. God can give us the courage to be brutally honest about ourselves.

We must remember that our inventory and doing Step 5 also gives us a chance to talk about our strengths. This is a time to look at our whole self and see what we need to change and also what we need to keep. We are not bad people. There is always room for improvement, but there is always room to accept our good qualities as well. We may be surprised when we start listing what all is strong and caring about ourselves. This is a very important part of our inventory to share with others.

Questions to think about:

1. What can be gained by admitting your faults to another person?
2. What is your resistance to sharing your story with another person?
3. Which of your faults is the most difficult to acknowledge? Why?
4. In what ways will admitting to God, to yourself, and to another person stop you from deceiving yourself?

A Note: Remember, you don't have to answer any of these here on this thread. Only write here what you are comfortable writing as many others will be reading this.

My Personal Note: I did this with a female pastor many years ago, and she was wonderful. She shared with me that I was not alone in some of what I had done, and that she and I were similar. She helped me to see myself as a good, strong woman, and that made all the difference in the world to me. I am so grateful that I was able to talk with her.



Elayne from the west coast of Fl.

"Music is the original mood-altering, non-fattening wonder drug. Ask your doctor if Music is right for you."



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SENIORSAXLADY's Photo SENIORSAXLADY Posts: 41,920
7/14/09 4:26 P

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It took me a long time, months to be exact to do step 4. I'm glad you are not rushing this step.

I'll post Step 5 on the weekend but that doesn't mean you have to move to Step 5 now. It'll just be here for those that want to move on.

Elayne from the west coast of Fl.

"Music is the original mood-altering, non-fattening wonder drug. Ask your doctor if Music is right for you."



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MARIADALE's Photo MARIADALE SparkPoints: (0)
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7/14/09 11:33 A

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Still working step 4... delayed by wedding and family visits... will complete in Aug.

Maria

The only real failure is quitting!

It doesn't matter how many times you begin again. It only matters that you begin again.

"Never confuse a single defeat with a final defeat."
– F. Scott Fitzgerald

"Do not fear mistakes, there are none."
– Miles Davis

"I have not failed, I have just found 10,000 ways that don't work."
-Thomas Edison



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46A39P's Photo 46A39P Posts: 5,210
7/14/09 11:14 A

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I look forward to the next step Elayne!

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SUNNYGAL2018's Photo SUNNYGAL2018 Posts: 5,775
7/1/09 8:12 A

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((((Elayne)))) take care and have a safe trip~
God bless you for ALL you do for us on our Gods Team~
love ya g/f!!!
and miss u already!
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SunnyGal2018

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46A39P's Photo 46A39P Posts: 5,210
6/29/09 2:00 P

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Thank you and will do!

SENIORSAXLADY's Photo SENIORSAXLADY Posts: 41,920
6/29/09 1:53 P

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I'll be away from June 30 to July 11. I'll post Step 5 the weekend after I come back.

Be sure and check out the Quote of the week in 12 step recovery rooms thread.

Edited by: SENIORSAXLADY at: 6/29/2009 (13:56)
Elayne from the west coast of Fl.

"Music is the original mood-altering, non-fattening wonder drug. Ask your doctor if Music is right for you."



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SENIORSAXLADY's Photo SENIORSAXLADY Posts: 41,920
6/8/09 10:10 P

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You've come up with very good answers. I can tell you are really looking into yourself. That's good. I hope someday you'll be able to reach out more and more. emoticon

Elayne from the west coast of Fl.

"Music is the original mood-altering, non-fattening wonder drug. Ask your doctor if Music is right for you."



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46A39P's Photo 46A39P Posts: 5,210
6/8/09 5:37 A

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Step 4…

1. What is your major strength?
How does it support you?

My major strength is my faith.
It supports me by being the very thing that helps to sustain me.



2. What is your major weakness? How does it hurt you?
My major weakness is the inability to allow myself to be vulnerable.
It keeps distance between myself and people.

3. Which of your present behaviors is the most damaging to your life? Explain.
When I withdraw and become isolative. It keeps me from reaching out, being involved, included and part of something more important then being isolated.


4. In what area of your life do you suspect that denial is at work?
I suspect denial is at work … I have not fully accepted my illness and it keeps me from doing or meeting my full potential. Where I could be thriving.




46A39P's Photo 46A39P Posts: 5,210
6/8/09 5:23 A

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Thank you Elayne. That is reasuring to know!

I'll be working on the next step...

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SENIORSAXLADY's Photo SENIORSAXLADY Posts: 41,920
6/6/09 8:05 P

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Ok Maria. I don't want to rush anyone through these steps. Glad you will revisit the original Step 4.

Anyone that wants more in depth material, please go back to the beginning on page 1 of this thread. I have written a much more in depth post about each step through Step 4 or beyond. I just can't remember how far I got before. Feel free to explore them.. I just didn't want to go into all that detail this time around. I felt I had written too much before. emoticon

Edited by: SENIORSAXLADY at: 6/8/2009 (22:08)
Elayne from the west coast of Fl.

"Music is the original mood-altering, non-fattening wonder drug. Ask your doctor if Music is right for you."



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6/6/09 4:43 P

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I really want to do step 4 in a more in depth way... last time you posted a lot of separate step 4 topics...i will revisit those.

Maria

The only real failure is quitting!

It doesn't matter how many times you begin again. It only matters that you begin again.

"Never confuse a single defeat with a final defeat."
– F. Scott Fitzgerald

"Do not fear mistakes, there are none."
– Miles Davis

"I have not failed, I have just found 10,000 ways that don't work."
-Thomas Edison



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SENIORSAXLADY's Photo SENIORSAXLADY Posts: 41,920
6/6/09 2:55 P

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Hi Maria, What a great job on answering the Action Steps for Step 4. Be sure and make your own private list of all your good points too. This can be a very long step, depending on how deeply one wants to dleve into him or her self.

We are just touching on the basics here. You can do more work if you to.It's up to you and how you are feeling about this step.

Let me know when you all are ready to move onto Step 5, Admitted to God, to ourselves, and another human being, the exact nature of our wrongs."

Again, you don't have to post anything here if you are not comfortable doing so. These can be done privately along with anyone else you choose.

Elayne from the west coast of Fl.

"Music is the original mood-altering, non-fattening wonder drug. Ask your doctor if Music is right for you."



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SENIORSAXLADY's Photo SENIORSAXLADY Posts: 41,920
6/6/09 2:44 P

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Hi Jean, You answered Step 3 Action Steps the way it is for you. You are very strong in your faith and completely trust God. There is no right or wrong way to answer these questions. You did a beautiful job. emoticon

Edited by: SENIORSAXLADY at: 6/6/2009 (14:47)
Elayne from the west coast of Fl.

"Music is the original mood-altering, non-fattening wonder drug. Ask your doctor if Music is right for you."



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5/29/09 6:31 P

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1. What is your major strength? How does it support you?

I am tenacious and do not give up easily. I do not allow setbacks to become failures. I know that i have failings and that backsliding is inevitable but i have a string desire and willingness to keep moving forward toward the serenity that Christ promises.

2. What is your major weakness? How does it hurt you?

My major weakness is a perfectionist, all or nothing mentality. when i fall i often allow myself to fall hard. It is not easy for me to forgive myself even though i know the Lord forgives me.

3. Which of your present behaviors is the most damaging to your life? Explain.

The most damaging behaviour is my relationship with food (overeating, binge eating). My most damaging emotion is jealousy. I fear the loss of my husbands love and attention and react with jealousy when he spends too much time with others.

4. In what area of your life do you suspect that denial is at work?

There are probably many areas of my life where denial is at work. My food addiction has been the biggest... but I have other addictions as well. I would like to stop my overspending and compulsive shopping. I have already conquered my smoking addiction and compulsive stealing.



Maria

The only real failure is quitting!

It doesn't matter how many times you begin again. It only matters that you begin again.

"Never confuse a single defeat with a final defeat."
– F. Scott Fitzgerald

"Do not fear mistakes, there are none."
– Miles Davis

"I have not failed, I have just found 10,000 ways that don't work."
-Thomas Edison



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5/29/09 4:41 P

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Step 3...


Action Steps:

1. What parts of your life are you willing to turn over to God?

I trust God. That there is a reason for everything that happens.

This action step I have to contemplate on and really think about what it means. Parts of my life, well, I think I’ve given Him me. The good and the bad. I meditate so often, I don’t think there is an area that I have not given to him.


2. Which parts of your life are you UN-willing to turn over to God?
I am not sure. Maybe I’m hitting a stumbling block on this step because I think I’ve given my life to God.


3. Why do you think that surrendering your life to God reduces stress in your life?

Having faith to me means surrendering those very things that would keep me from Him and that reduces stress.
To me, how can I go wrong with God in my life? I am thankful for the graces and gifts he continues to give me.


I’m sorry about my inability to answer these action steps. I guess I need help with them.







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5/23/09 8:17 P

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May 24

Step 4. Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.

Scripture:" Let us examine our ways and test them, and let us return to the Lord." Lamentations 3:40

Step 4 Prayer

Dear God, It is I who have made my life a mess. I have done it, but I cannot undo it. My mistakes are mine, and I will begin a searching and fearless moral inventory. I will write down my wrongs, but I will also include what is good. I pray for the strength to complete the task. A-Men

Step 4 begins the growth steps of our journey. Here we examine our behavior and expand or understanding of ourselves. The adventure of self-discovery begins wit Step 4 and continues through Step 7.

Step 4 helps us to get in touch with our "shadow", that part of us who we have hidden away for so long --our repressed nature. We will see that our shadow is an important part of our nature and must be accepted by us. This part of our nature hides our fears, resentments, and other repressed feelings. AS we begin to see ourselves, we will learn to accept our whole character--the good and the bad--the weak and the strong.

Some behavior traits that may pop up are Denial, minimizing, blaming, excusing, dodging, and attacking. We also will find resentment, perhaps jealousy, and self-centerdness.

Here are some key ideas to help us understand what we may discover.

Moral Inventory: a list of our weaknesses and our strengths. Weaknesses can be wrongs, character defects, faults and shortcomings. This inventory is something we prayerfully accomplish with God's help. It is for our benefit.

Survival Skills: These are our familiar defenses we developed to protect oursleves from the chaos of our childhood homes. These early childhood survival skills followed us into our adult life and added to our struggles.

Denial: This is a key survival skill that w learned in our early childhood. We protect ourselves by pretending nothing is wrong and that our lives are fulfilling. We ignore the real problems by replacing them with elaborate explanations, rationalizations, and distractions such as minimizing, blaming, excusing, generalizing, dodging and attacking.

Resentment: This is a major roadblock to recovery and must be removed. Resentment is the bitterness and anger we feel toward those who we see as threats to our security or well-being or those who have caused us harm. If not removed, our resentments hinder our progress and growth.

Fear: This is often our first response to anything new. We meet change with fear because we feel threatened by so many things. Fear creates a physical response that begins with the release of adrenaline and ends with the whole body on alert. This altered state often leads to persistent and unwanted tension and can develop into stress-related illness.

Shadow: Although "shadow" may sound odd or like unfamiliar Christian terminology, the idea of a battle between light and dark is a biblical truth. When St. John speaks of Christ's coming, he describes Christ as light. The idea of darkness and shadows illustrates the evil side of the world and the corrupt nature in ourselves! "Shadow" refers to the darkness we carry inside us. Just as our shadow follows our every move, our dark side or fallen nature is always with us. Our shadow is most evident when contrasted with the light of day. Our old, fallen nature is very noticeable when we stand beside God's light, the Bible. Take time to read John 1: 1-9. Romans 7:7-25, and 1 John1: 5-7.

Step 2 is a tool to help us understand our current behavior patterns and recognize our need for God's guidance in our lives. Here we examine our behavior and expand our understanding of ourselves. Being totally thorough and honest in preparing our inventory helps us to see the obstacles that have prevented us from knowing ourselves and acknowledging our deepest feelings about life.

Questions:

1. What is your major strength? How does it support you?
2. What is your major weakness? How does it hurt you?
3. Which of your present behaviors is the most damaging to your life? Explain.
4. In what area of your life do you suspect that denial is at work?



Elayne from the west coast of Fl.

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5/23/09 1:57 P

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Beautiful post Maria. Thank you for those words of wisdom. I sometimes struggle with complete trust myself because of past hurts. I'm getting better at letting them go and am trusting much more than I did. Progress, not perfection.

Elayne from the west coast of Fl.

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5/23/09 8:53 A

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Those who know your name trust in you, for you, O Lord, have never abandoned anyone who searches for you.
Psalm 9:10 NLT

What holds us back from complete trust? Perhaps it is a fear that maybe we are wrong about God. Maybe we feel presumptuous. It is possible, if we have been disappointed in the past, that our misunderstanding is haunting us. We hear a voice in the back of our minds that says, "What if God doesn't come through? What if he makes it more difficult than I can handle? What if all my hopes are illusions?" So we hesitate to trust God.

We pray and we hope, but faith remains incomplete and doubts linger. We'll ask Him to help us, but we withhold judgment until we've seen His response.

We are called to believe God with reckless abandon—not just believe that He is there and that He is involved with us somehow; but that He is actively, personally seeking our good and answering our prayers. We are to give up our own strategies and ambitions, to relinquish all "Plan Bs," to recklessly, irrevocably cast ourselves completely into His arms.

God called Abraham to leave Haran and go to a place to be revealed later. Jesus invited Peter to step out of the boat and walk on water. That kind of call is scary, though typical in God's Kingdom. But why is it scary? Where could He lead us that we'd regret? Would He ever lead us into danger but not out of it?

God calls us to "reckless" trust, the kind that prepares no safety net and reserves nothing for a spiritually rainy day. Try to find someone God had forsaken, observe His faithfulness, and ask yourself: "Why wouldn't I trust Him wholeheartedly? Think about it. Why not?

Adapted from The One Year® Walk with God Devotional by Chris Tiegreen, Tyndale House Publishers (2004), entry for May 12.




Maria

The only real failure is quitting!

It doesn't matter how many times you begin again. It only matters that you begin again.

"Never confuse a single defeat with a final defeat."
– F. Scott Fitzgerald

"Do not fear mistakes, there are none."
– Miles Davis

"I have not failed, I have just found 10,000 ways that don't work."
-Thomas Edison



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SENIORSAXLADY's Photo SENIORSAXLADY Posts: 41,920
5/19/09 4:51 P

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Me Too! I learn something new about myself every time I do these steps. We are never done!

Elayne from the west coast of Fl.

"Music is the original mood-altering, non-fattening wonder drug. Ask your doctor if Music is right for you."



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5/19/09 1:55 P

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looking forward to it.

Maria

The only real failure is quitting!

It doesn't matter how many times you begin again. It only matters that you begin again.

"Never confuse a single defeat with a final defeat."
– F. Scott Fitzgerald

"Do not fear mistakes, there are none."
– Miles Davis

"I have not failed, I have just found 10,000 ways that don't work."
-Thomas Edison



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SENIORSAXLADY's Photo SENIORSAXLADY Posts: 41,920
5/19/09 11:22 A

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I'll be posting Step 4 sometime this coming weekend.

Elayne from the west coast of Fl.

"Music is the original mood-altering, non-fattening wonder drug. Ask your doctor if Music is right for you."



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SENIORSAXLADY's Photo SENIORSAXLADY Posts: 41,920
5/16/09 3:04 P

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Maria, What a wonderful answer for Step 3 you had. I agree with your statements on all of the ways to turn our lives over to God. I too am not good at being in the driver's seat. When I try to run my own life it becomes a total disaster. I turned my life over to God when I was 13, but have since re-dedicated my life to Him a few years back.

I agree that turning our will over to him daily is necessary. Every day is a new beginning.

I like what you said about forgivness as well.

You did a lot of thinking on this Step as well as Steps 1 and 2. Thank you for your continued sharing of your experiences here. We can only keep what we have by giving it away. emoticon

Elayne from the west coast of Fl.

"Music is the original mood-altering, non-fattening wonder drug. Ask your doctor if Music is right for you."



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5/15/09 11:25 A

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How do you TURN your life over to the one and only Higher Power, Jesus Christ?

Trust
Deciding to turn my life and will over to God requires only trust. Trust is putting the faith I found in principle two into action.

Understand
Relying on my own understanding got me into trouble in the first place! After deciding to let Jesus into my life, I need to seek His will in all my decisions.

Repent
To repent, I must not only turn away form my sins but turn towards God. Repentance allows me to enjoy the loving relationship that God offers.

New Life
Asking Jesus into my heart gives me a chance at a new life. I am no longer bound by my sinful nature. God has freed me from guilt and I no longer have to live under the power of sin.

Turning my life over to Christ was a one in a lifetime commitment. Turning my will over to Him requires daily recommitment.


I did resist organize religion for many years, the church of my youth seemed to me to be filled with hypocrisy and lies. In spite of knowing that I possessed a deep sense of spirituality I refused to embrace organized religion. I searched for an outlet for my spirituality outside of Christianity and failed to find it. Eventually I fell under the spell of my daughter’s deep Christian faith; if it could bring her such peace and joy, why not me? I invited Christ into my life because I finally had to admit my powerlessness over food and seek a Higher Power. As soon as my search for a Higher Power became imperative, Christ stood out as the logical choice.

Relying on my own understanding has not worked. I am knowledgeable about healthy eating, I read and educate myself. However, knowing and doing have not matched up in my life. In spite of my knowledge I struggle to apply it all to my daily life. I constantly fell prey to my own perfectionism and allowed an all or nothing mentality to rule me. It was impossible for me to fail and forgive myself. Instead I used food to punish myself for failure.

Repent for me means to take stock of my past sins and lay them to rest by seeking and accepting God’s merciful forgiveness. There is much that I need to releasecontrol of: my gluttony, my destructive compulsive habits, my greed, my temper, my jealousy. I willingly turn these oveer to Jesus. There is much work ahead for me as I prepare to take my Step Four inventory.


Christ has given me a new life when I accepted him through baptism. It is a chance to live the rest of my life under his will instead of struggling with my own. It is the promise of the life everlasting… a new life beyond my span here on earth.

In praying the prayers of the third step/principle I am attempting to give up my will. I am earnestly trying to open my heart to His messages that I might follow His will for my life. This is not a step to be taken once, but reaffirmed daily. The third step prayer must become a mainstay in my life as I continue to seek His will one day at a time.

I find myself less stressed and more confident that I will succeed. It is a comfort knowing God is on my team and will guide me. Temptation still happens, many of my old compulsive behaviours rear their ugly head, but I can and do resist. Since I have been in recovery I accept that I can not rely on my own willpower alone. I must continually seek his will and pray for the willingness to follow it. I am trying to turn many aspects of my life over to God; my food, other compulsive behaviours (shopping, stealing), my anger, my jealousy and my need to be in control and perfect. I do not fear turning my life to His care but I may still find myself in my own will out of habit. It is not that I do not want to follow his guidance but I am so new to prayer, it is not always my first response.

I am learning to live in today. I can forgive myself, as I know God has forgiven me, when I make errors. I will just move on. There is no point in worrying about tomorrow, worry does not accomplish anything and it steals today. My most urgent concern is my relationship with food and the destructive effect it has had on both my body and my spirit. I am willing to turn my food over to God.




Maria

The only real failure is quitting!

It doesn't matter how many times you begin again. It only matters that you begin again.

"Never confuse a single defeat with a final defeat."
– F. Scott Fitzgerald

"Do not fear mistakes, there are none."
– Miles Davis

"I have not failed, I have just found 10,000 ways that don't work."
-Thomas Edison



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SENIORSAXLADY's Photo SENIORSAXLADY Posts: 41,920
5/14/09 2:33 P

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Ok. That's fine. Take your time. I'll keep checking back here. emoticon

Elayne from the west coast of Fl.

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5/13/09 5:54 P

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i am working on it... step 3 that is

Maria

The only real failure is quitting!

It doesn't matter how many times you begin again. It only matters that you begin again.

"Never confuse a single defeat with a final defeat."
– F. Scott Fitzgerald

"Do not fear mistakes, there are none."
– Miles Davis

"I have not failed, I have just found 10,000 ways that don't work."
-Thomas Edison



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SENIORSAXLADY's Photo SENIORSAXLADY Posts: 41,920
5/13/09 11:25 A

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May 13, I'll hold off writing about Step 4 as I don't think anyone has had time to read Step 3 yet. Let me know, ok? Thanks! I can go to every 2 weeks if that would be better for ya'll.

Elayne from the west coast of Fl.

"Music is the original mood-altering, non-fattening wonder drug. Ask your doctor if Music is right for you."



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SENIORSAXLADY's Photo SENIORSAXLADY Posts: 41,920
5/4/09 4:39 P

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May 4

Step 3. Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood him.

Scripture: Romans 12:1 "Therefore I urge you, brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies, holy and pleasing to God- which is your spiritual worship."

Step 3 Prayer:

God, I offer myself to Thee, to build with me and do with me As Thou wilt. Relieve me of the bondage of self, that I may better do Thy will. Take away my difficulties, that victory over them may bear witness to those I would help of Thy Power. Thy Love, and Thy Way of life.May I do Thy will always!
A-men

Step 3 continues a process we started when we did Steps 1 and 2. In Step 1, we admitted our lives were out of control and that we were powerless to change things through our own power. In Step 2, we renounced every old god we had been worshiping as powerless to save us and looked to a higher Power to restore us to wholeness. Now, in Step 3, we recognize God as that higher Power and ask Him to assume control over and care of every aspect of our lives.

A common recovery phrase used in Twelve Step groups is "Turn it over." For the recovering person, that means turning over to God's care not only the major conspicuous addictions like alcoholism or food addiction. It means turning over every aspect of life, even the small frustrations involved in handling children, or trying to make a faulty appliance work or dealing with road traffic. In the face of these irritations, the recovering person will say time and time again, "Turn it over, turn it over, turn it over!"

A Step 3 recovery paradox is that codependant or addictive personalities are often quite willful and egocentric, and yet that egocentricity often hides a
deep sense of insecurity. One definition of a codependant is: "An egomaniac with an inferiority complex." Step 3 invites us to get out of the center of our universe and hand that place back to God. As we move into any addiction or dependency, we tend to become more self-centered, self-absorbed, and self-pre-occupied in trying to address the pain driving the addiction. However, this self-preoccupation only draws us more deeply in to our addiction. We have to step out of ourselves and look beyond ourselves.

Breaking our of this bondage of self doesn't mean we ignore or deny our needs. In fact, the reverse is true. If we can discover healthy, God-directed ways to meet our emotional and physical needs, then we become less needy, less selfish, less self-preoccupied people. Discovering what our needs are and asking to have those needs met may be one of the most Un-selfish things we do. All of us have needs, and all of us have choices as to how those needs will be met. Addictions, compulsions, and codependencies are counterfeit ways of trying to meet our most basic physical, emotional and spiritual hungers. With God's help we can find genuine ways of satisfying them.

We want to turn ourselves over to to God, but how? Ho do we get out of the driver's seat? The key is WILLINGNESS. If we crack the door just a little bit, then God will direct us in the process. Revelation 3:20 says." Behold! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears MY voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me."

Action Steps:

1. What parts of your life are you willing to turn over to God?

2. Which parts of your life are you UN-willing to turn over to God? What prevents you from giving them up?

3. Why do you think that surrendering your life to God reduces stress in your life?

4. What do you hope to experience as a result of your decision to surrender all to God's will?


Edited by: SENIORSAXLADY at: 5/4/2009 (19:01)
Elayne from the west coast of Fl.

"Music is the original mood-altering, non-fattening wonder drug. Ask your doctor if Music is right for you."



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5/3/09 12:18 A

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Maria, Thank you once again for sharing in this discussion of Step 2. I can relate to your fear of losing your husband's love and being clingny with him. I can remember being like that when we moved to Florida. My husband would say, "Don't cling." and I didn't understand what he meant. He had to spell it our for me. I had low self esteem and was always afraid he would find someone else and leave me. I had a lot of growing and changing to do as well.

These steps helped me so much with my relationship with God and others. Through God I have been able to let go of my fears and insecurities. I know you will be able to do this as well.

I loved your meaning of Insanity. I have never seen it spelled out that way before. Thank you for that.

Glad you are giving all of your fears and insane behavior over to God. He will take it from there and will teach you how to change your feelings and to begin to have peace in your life. emoticon

Elayne from the west coast of Fl.

"Music is the original mood-altering, non-fattening wonder drug. Ask your doctor if Music is right for you."



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5/2/09 3:47 P

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I thinking the past I tried to find hope in every new diet or diet pill. I now want to turn to God for my hope. I believe that he will listen to my prayers and answer them. I believe that he will show me the purpose he has planned for me if I am willing to listen to His will. I believe that he alone can help me to resist any temptation. God is loving and merciful. He will not abandon his children but rather will guide them. When we falter or fail, He will forgive us. He will surround us with his love and protect us from the temptation of the world.

I believe that my heavenly father, unlike my own dad, is full of unconditional love. He is kind and forgiving and will guide me, helping me to grow in my faith. He will demonstrate his love daily, he will not criticize or condemn. Through God’s grace and a relationship with Jesus I hope to stop denying my problems and instead facing them head on. He will help me to see my destructive hurts, hang-ups and habits.

I am ready to let God help me with my eating disorder, my need to control others, my fear of losing my husband’s love and my desire to grow in my relationship to Christ.

I am ready to change my relationship with food. I want to learn to resist the temptation to binge on sugary treats. I also want to learn to stop trying to control others, especially my husband. I want to learn to submit to his authority. I want to be less clingy and more trusting of my husbands love for me. God can give me the power to change. If I ask for his help it will be given.

Insanity is often described as doing the same thing over and over, expecting a different result. SANITY is best described as making decisions based on truth. We must believe that Jesus has the power and will restore us to SANITY. These are the gifts he offers:

Strength
Jesus will give us the strength we need to face fears that have caused us to fight, flee or freeze in the past.

Acceptance
We can learn to have realistic expectations of ourselves and others.

New Life
We have an opportunity for a second chance. We no longer have to live by our old (insane) ways.

Integrity
We follow through on promises allowing others to begin to trust in us.

Trust
In return we can trust relationships with others, in particular with our Higher Power, Jesus Christ.

Your Higher Power, Jesus, loves you just the way you are!
It does not matter how we lived in the past, Jesus will forgive us all past transgressions. No matter where we are in our struggles with food or relationships with God we can handle it. Taking action to complete step three will ensure a future that is blessed and secure.

There is much insanity in my life. I kept trying to lose my last few pounds by dieting all week and then indulging all weekend. No progress was made. I keep trying to control my husband, out of jealousy and fear. He shows no inclination to indulge my possessiveness.
Sanity would be living free of jealousy and the urge to sneak junk foods. I think it is unrealistic to think I can be 100% in control at all times, but realistic to know that God can be, It is unrealistic of me to expect my husband to devote all his time to me. My own feelings and emotions are often clouded by fear leading to poor judgments. Jesus can restore me and help me make sane choices and decisions. I need only ask.

I am ready to hand over my compulsive eating to God.
I am ready to hand over my relationship with my husband to God.
I am ready to hand over my compulsive stealing to God.
I am ready to hand over my compulsive shopping to God.
I am ready to hand over my jealousy and need for control to God.



Maria

The only real failure is quitting!

It doesn't matter how many times you begin again. It only matters that you begin again.

"Never confuse a single defeat with a final defeat."
– F. Scott Fitzgerald

"Do not fear mistakes, there are none."
– Miles Davis

"I have not failed, I have just found 10,000 ways that don't work."
-Thomas Edison



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5/1/09 9:29 P

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Hi Jean,

You did very well at your answers to the action questions. Remember, there are no right or wrong answers. There is no right or wrong way to work the Steps other than doing them in order. That is important since each one prepares you for the next one. It is wonderful that you are wiling to share your experiences with us. Thank you for doing so.

On Action Step 1 you and I have had a lot of the same experiences. In fact, I thought I was writing the experiences. I think most of us have had these types of experiences that would cause us to lose faith if even temporarily. I know I questioned the existence of God many times growing up and into the early part of my adult life. Deep down I knew God was real, but I was so down at times I questioned if he even heard my prayers. That has changed now, and I am so grateful that it has. I believe in God even when I don't feel him.

2. You, like I, have had trouble accepting that faith is a gift and that I didn't have to earn God's grace. You explained it exactly like my experience. I can remember being told about God's little black book and all the red check marks next to my name for everything I did wrong in my life. I expected to be thrown in the lake of fire forever, so at one point I stopped even trying to be "good."
I now for the most part, accept God's grace and realize I can do nothing to earn it and I don't have to. All I had to do was accept Jesus as God's Son and my Savior. How wonderful is that?

3. You and I both can say nothing is keeping us from believing that God can restore us to sanity. He has done that over and over again with me, as he has done the same for you. We are so fortunate to have a God who loves us so much.

4.I think we both have learned that we cannot change others..only God can. When I try to run my life, I fail miserably. I'm much better off having Jesus in the driver's seat. Some days I think I can do it better and I know God must be sitting back and laughing in a kind way, just waiting for me to come back to him and ask him to take over once more.

You did a beautiful job writing these answers about you. I can tell you are honest and sincere, which is what we need to be to learn to live by the 12 Steps on a daily basis. These 12 Steps have become my blueprint for living as you will see as we go forward in the program.

There is a Bible I use and recommend highly to all 12-Steppers. I mentioned it in the introduction to this study. It is called The Life Recovery Bible. It's the New Living Translation, and it has the 12 Steps in it and all backed up with scripture. It is published by Tyndale.

The other book I have used to teach from is The Twelve Steps for Christians, which is based on Biblical Teachings.

I have seen both on Amazon.com, and I also would check the used section of Amazon.com or even E-bay. emoticon

Edited by: SENIORSAXLADY at: 5/1/2009 (21:34)
Elayne from the west coast of Fl.

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5/1/09 6:46 P

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Thank you Elayne for Step 2. I am sorry I have not replied until now. I really needed to sit with this and have it gel and then reply. I hope I did this the way it's supposed to be done.


Action Steps:

1. List experiences that caused you to lose faith in God.

When I trusted people and they hurt me.
When I felt alone and abandoned by God, when I was troubled or hurting.
When bad things would happen to loved ones, I had no understanding why God would let it happen.
When people of faith lead double lives and it affected my faith in God, as it caused confusion in me.
When people were abusive or mean spirited towards me.
When I was falsely or harshly judged or ridiculed.
When I was hospitalized.

2. Have you mistakenly believed that it was your responsibility to create faith yourself instead of accepting faith as a gift?

Yes. I have in the past. I was brought up with a religious back ground. I learned what I had to do but didn’t learn about faith or what it really was until I was older. There was a time I didn’t see faith as a gift. I saw it as something I had to learn and earn (I hope I’m explaining this well. I never thought about it before, so it’s new to me). I came into faith and it has grown within me and gets stronger – praise God.

3. What is keeping you from truly believing that a power greater than yourself can restore you to sanity?

I believe that God continues to restore me to sanity. I fall and He lifts me. I waiver and He calls me back. I stumble, and He picks me up and carries me. I fail and He comforts me, I falter and He forgives my sins.

4. Describe your inability to manage your own affairs.

I realized that I can not control things out of my control. There was a time when I thought I could change a situation or what a person is thinking by explaining something. I had to come to the conclusion that I can not “manage/control” things that are out of my hands. I rely on the Lord to pull me through each day. Some days are more difficult then others to relinquish control, but as I progress, and learn and receive graces and the ability to practice discernment, I realize a little bit more each day and it gets easier to release and just let it go. There are tremendous rewards in that. There is peace which can elude me if I am following my will in things. When I give it to the Lord, life is better. It’s a given. I didn’t say easy, just better. Accepting my cross is what I have to remind myself to do and accept. Accepting this cross with a promise to Jesus that I am doing it for Him. He has given me life and I owe my existence to Him. Whatever human experience I am in, I am his child. Without Him, I would be lost, alone and in a very dark place, without hope and that is not where I choose to be! I don’t know that I’ve described my inability to manage my life here, but know what mismanaging it has caused me, which is basically living in darkness, and I don’t need to go their. Although, life has a way of twisting and throwing curve balls at me, I still find the Lord through it all, so I consider myself blessed and very fortunate.


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Jean

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4/27/09 11:07 A

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April 27

Step 2: Came to believe that a power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.

Scripture: For it is God who works in you to will and t act according to his good purpose. -Phil. 2:13

Step 2 Prayer from the 12 Step Prayer Book:

I pray for an open mind so I may come to believe in a Power greater than myself. I pray for humility and the continued opportunity to increase my faith. I don't want to be crazy anymore. A-men

In Step 2 the phrase "came to believe" is suggesting a process and a progression of faith that grows over time. AA explains it in three parts:
1. We came, that is, we showed up and stumbled in the door.
2. We came to, that is, we sobered up and came to our senses, and began to experience emotional sobriety.
3. We came to believe. We began our real recovery process and our spiritual growth. This style of spiritual growth closely parallels the strong Christian tradition that each person must come to an individual knowledge of God.

Step 2 is a logical step from Step 1. If in Step 1 we have admitted our own powerlessness, than the next step is to seek a new source of strength and power to take charge for us and to make us sane (well and whole). For some people, spiritual conversion is dramatic as it was for the apostle Paul on the road to Damascus (Acts 9). For most of us, however, it is very gradual. As we grow and mature emotionally, we also grow Spiritually.

Here are some emotional and spiritual" housecleaning " steps to we may want to do to welcome in a new Power to restore us to wellness according to the book Serenity, which is a companion for Twelve Step Recovery.

1) We must bring into abstinence or balance all the addictive agents through which we have sought to meet our deepest needs. Money, sex, career, food,chemicals, anything and everything that we have used excessively. We must place these things into proper perspective- not lifted onto a pedestal to be worshiped.
2) We must transcend the god of reason if we have been worshiping God through an exclusively intellectual approach.
3) We must renounce the tendency to play God ourselves. We must grow beyond selfishness, narcissism, and grandiosity.
4) We must also renounce putting other people or human institutions in the roles of gods.

We must be rid of false gods if we are looking to the Judeo-Christian God as our higher power, but we also need to overcome old sources of bitterness toward Him.
1) We nay have identified God with an abusive parent.
2) We may have had negative experiences with the church ( hypocrisy, bigotry, condemnation).
3) We may be struggling with a sense that God has failed us- that He has allowed us to become codependant.
4) We may be angry that God has not instantaneously healed us of our addictive illnesses.

As we commit ourselves to a lifetime of recovery and to filling the empty void inside us, we need to turn to the ultimate source of God's Word and discover what the Scriptures have to tell us. By exploring the Bible, we will learn more about God, we will draw closer to Him, and we will discover more about His will for us.

In the meditation I read for Step 2 it talks about The power that resurrected Jesus from the dead is the same power that He offers to resurrect us from the living death of our dependencies and to change the course of our lives. Remember, God was Jesus in the flesh.

Step 2 is about the birth of faith in us. We are born anew. It is about submission, and making peace with God. It's about believing in a loving Higher Power, whom I choose to call God, who is willing to help us.

Step 2 is also about Belief. Belief in something or someone is acknowledging that something or someone exists. Belief that saves implies trust and commitment. In this step we begin to exercise trust in God.

Action Steps:

1. List experiences that caused you to lose faith in God.
2. Have you mistakenly believed that it was your responsibility to create faith yourself instead of accepting faith as a gift?
3. What is keeping you from truly believing that a power greater than yourself can restore you to sanity?
4. Describe you inability to manage your won affairs.

This thread is now open for discussion. emoticon

Edited by: SENIORSAXLADY at: 4/27/2009 (12:00)
Elayne from the west coast of Fl.

"Music is the original mood-altering, non-fattening wonder drug. Ask your doctor if Music is right for you."



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4/26/09 11:16 P

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I look forward to it!

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Hi everyone. I will post Step 2 on Monday. It's been a busy day!

Elayne from the west coast of Fl.

"Music is the original mood-altering, non-fattening wonder drug. Ask your doctor if Music is right for you."



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Elayne, I feel safe sharing here... everyone is so supportive, there is no fear of being attacked or condemned. I have tried to be brutally honest with myself... and surprisingly my relationship with food got easier when I went back and revisited these first steps.

Maria

The only real failure is quitting!

It doesn't matter how many times you begin again. It only matters that you begin again.

"Never confuse a single defeat with a final defeat."
– F. Scott Fitzgerald

"Do not fear mistakes, there are none."
– Miles Davis

"I have not failed, I have just found 10,000 ways that don't work."
-Thomas Edison



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Maria, What a powerful and honest account of your Step 1. I appreciate you sharing it here with us. I'm sure it wasn't easy.

Denial is not a river in Egypt! Denial will keep us sick. Denial will allow the "if only's" to take over and make us think we can't change because of all those reasons in our life. The power of having to be in control is great. If we were really in control we wouldn't need God in our life.

I can remember when I was dating my DH I wanted to control what he wore. I didn't think it fit in with the style I liked. I am fortunate he didn't leave me over that. We finally worked that out when I learned it was not my place to dictate how he dressed. I just felt some of his clothes were too old fashioned and out of date and didn't understand why that didn't bother him. I loved him, just not he way he dressed. I thought I could manipulate him and I was wrong. Now we look back on those days and laugh.

Elayne from the west coast of Fl.

"Music is the original mood-altering, non-fattening wonder drug. Ask your doctor if Music is right for you."



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We admitted we were powerless over the effects of our separation from God-that out lives had become unmanageable.

I have a Celebrate Recovery Program this is my step one: Realize I’m not God. I admit that I am powerless to control my tendency to do the wrong thing and that my life is unmanageable.

Before we can recover we must admit our DENIAL. We can not heal our problems by saying they do not not exist.

I have full blown addictions. I can conquer the addiction by controlling the cravings. Choosing to use food to solve my problems is a willful rebellion against my creator. There is a personal connection between my addiction and my walk with the Lord. I can not control my appetite under my own strength of will. I must surrender my burden and my will to God. This recovery will not be easy or quick but i believe if I turn to God he will get me through.

I have strong appetites in several areas of my life; food (especially sweets), attention and shopping. I feed those appetites in different ways. I shop compulsively, but am making progress to control it. I try to control my husband and the time he spends attending to my needs. I frequently overeat, when I eat sugar I binge. Food and jealousy control me. The most satisfying and productive appetite I have is for exercise.

I want to give up my unhealthy appetites, I want to turn them over to God and learn what his plan might be. In the past, I have surrendered to food; I have allowed it to control me physically, mentally and emotionally. I know that I must surrender my food addiction to God and let him control what I can not.

There are many areas or my life where I have control and a healthy balance. I was and still am a very successful teacher. My work environment was never out of control. Through God’s grace I also have gained control over my compulsive stealing. I have a healthy relationship and control over my appetites for alcohol and sex. I have control over my physical fitness and performance.

However, my relationship with food is still beyond my control. This is the appetite that controls me the most. Followed by my need to control my husband and the time he spends attending to me.

I pray that in taking step one I will develop control over my sugar addiction and a healthier relationship with my husband.

As a child I protected myself through denial and food. I became a perfectionist and over-achiever. I wanted so badly to gain parental approval. I needed to protect myself from my father’s alcohol addiction and my brother’s abuse.

To this day pain and disappointment still drive me to food for comfort. I have denied the causes of my addiction as well as the consequences. I have pushed God out of my life instead of turning to him. I can only address this denial by allowing God back into my life. I am facing many of my personal defects (compulsive behaviours around food, shopping, stealing and controlling others) and working to break through denial into recovery.

Once we have stepped out of denial we see there are few things we really have control over. Once we admit we are POWERLESS we can stop living with the serenity thieves.

In step one we need to stop doing two things:

Stop denying the pain. We are ready for recovery when we allow our pain to become greater than our fear.

Stop playing God. We can not do for ourselves what we need God to do for us. We must choose to serve God or ourselves… we can not serve both.

In addition, we need to start doing two things:

Start admitting your powerlessness. We must come to see that by ourselves we do not have the power to change our hurts, hang-ups and habits.

Start admitting that your life has become unmanageable. You can finally accept that some or all areas of your life are out of control.

My separation from God prevented me from seeking His help to overcome my hurts, hang-ups and habits. I need to face and deal with my past in order to move forward. God can help me heal.

There are many if onlys in my past:
If only I had not been molested as a child.
If only my parents had taught me healthy eating habits.
If only my parents had demonstrated unconditional love.
If only I had found low carb sooner.
If only I could eat like thin people.
If only I had controlled my addictions.
If only I had not slipped back to my old eating habits.

I use food to escape pain. Holding onto anger and resentment causes me to crave and seek more food. Food has been a source of comfort when I am emotionally drained and empty.

My denial has kept me from being fully open to my husbands love. I am often consumed by jealousy. I selfishly have demanded that my husband do things my way.

I need to pray and study scripture to bring me back to God.





Maria

The only real failure is quitting!

It doesn't matter how many times you begin again. It only matters that you begin again.

"Never confuse a single defeat with a final defeat."
– F. Scott Fitzgerald

"Do not fear mistakes, there are none."
– Miles Davis

"I have not failed, I have just found 10,000 ways that don't work."
-Thomas Edison



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4/20/09 12:32 A

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((((Elayne)))))
thank YOU SO MUCH for starting this Thread again. I too look forward to your post each day/nite.
God bless
love to ALL~
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4/19/09 8:57 P

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Jean, What a great post. You were not drifting at all. Feel free to talk all you want!

Maria, Good to see you here too. I am doing a shorter version than I did the first time around. I have to be careful to not get too wordy!

Elayne from the west coast of Fl.

"Music is the original mood-altering, non-fattening wonder drug. Ask your doctor if Music is right for you."



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4/19/09 4:25 P

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i am happy to see this revised as well!

Maria

The only real failure is quitting!

It doesn't matter how many times you begin again. It only matters that you begin again.

"Never confuse a single defeat with a final defeat."
– F. Scott Fitzgerald

"Do not fear mistakes, there are none."
– Miles Davis

"I have not failed, I have just found 10,000 ways that don't work."
-Thomas Edison



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4/19/09 2:11 P

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Good Afternoon and it is great to see this thread is active again ~ thank you Elayne!

" God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; The courage to change the things I can; The wisdom to know the difference."


This is my all time favorite saying. Words to live by because change is inevitable and guaranteed!

Oh please Lord, grant me the grace of wisdom, to know the difference between things I can change, and SHOULD change vs. what I can not or SHOULD not. Help me make those distinctions.

Yes Elayne, it makes perfect sense. I find when my heart/mind/soul drifts from having God centered in my life that things are just more difficult in general. When I have focus on God, where He is the central focal point in my life experience, things are better. I am then spiritually...what's the word...awakened and connected which is the best feeling! Otherwise, there is a disconnect and emptyness that can not be replaced by things or ideas. No amount of anything can take the place of God in my heart. He is what fills me and when I am aware of this (which I pray for daily - that awareness)that is when I am most at peace with myself, others, life. Living for the Lord, praising his name, giving thanks, having a humility that Jesus wants me to have in all things. I pray I do not disappoint Jesus, because he truly is my best friend and I owe him everything that is good in me. But I know too that he accepts me as being human and knows I fight human nature in things. I'm sorry I am drifting here. I will stop now LOL.


Thanks Elayne.

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Edited by: 46A39P at: 4/19/2009 (14:21)
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4/19/09 2:06 P

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Sunday, Aug. 19

The Twelve Steps we will be learning about were first used by Alcoholics Anonymous to help people stay sober. We don't know how they work, they just do. Each step leads into the next one. It is best to take them in order for that reason. They are used today for any behavior you want to change. There are 12 Steps for food addicts, alcoholics, gambling, drug addiction,spending addiction, eating addiction, sex addiction, co-dependents, and many other groups. It all comes down to one thing. We are all powerless over other people, places and things. We cannot change others. We can only change ourselves. Until we learn that, we will be fighting a losing battle.

The version of the Twelve Steps I'll be using is the one for Christians. The only difference is the wording of the first step. All the others remain the same for all the different 12 Step Recovery Groups, as I mentioned before.

I am using two books. One is called "Serenity: A Companion for Twelve Step Recovery complete with the New Testament, Psalms and Proverbs." The other is a book called "The Twelve Steps for Christians, based on Biblical Teachings." Oh, and I also have The Life Recovery Bible, which teaches the Twelve Steps and Scriptures to back them up.

Every 12 Step Recovery meeting begins with the first part of the Serenity Prayer. You may have heard it before.

" God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; The courage to change the things I can; The wisdom to know the difference."

The rest of the prayer is:

Living one day at a time; Accepting hardship as the pathway to peace; Taking, as He did, this sinful world as it is, not as I would have it; Trusting that He will make all things right if I surrender to His will; That I may be reasonably happy in this life, and supremely happy with Him forever in the next. A-Men

Step 1.(The original one) We admitted that we were powerless over alcohol- that our lives had become unmanageable.

The Christian version: We admitted we were powerless over the effects of our separation from God-that out lives had become unmanageable.

Here's a scripture to back that up. Romans 7:18-
I know nothing good lives in me, that is, my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out.

In my personal experience, I have learned that when I move away from God, I begin to become powerless over my food intake. I have tried to fill that empty space in my soul with food, and it doesn't work. I also had a spending problem at one time. I would feel good for a short time with what I had purchased, until the bill came. Then I had a problem of how to pay for what I had bought. Material things didn't do it for me anymore. Others try to fill that space with alcohol or drugs, smoking, gambling, sex, and trying to control others. I too used to feel I was responsible for everyone having a good time, or what they wore, or how they acted. I felt responsible for their feelings. All of these behaviors made me miserable and I ended up in a deep depression for a year. I do have a chemical imbalance which caused a lot of my depression, but I was contributing to it by my life being so unbalanced. It was through the study of these steps that I came back to God, and I try to live my life using the 12 Steps on a daily basis.

Question: Does any of this make sense to you? Can you relate to any of this yourselves? You don't have to answer here if you don't want to. May I suggest you start a journal as we go through these steps. I'll add more about the step throughout the week or talk with you about it if you want. You can spark-mail me if you want a more private discussion. I promise what you tell me will be held in strictest confidence. We'll do one step a week to get you all started. Then you can go back and really work them in your own time and be as thorough as you feel you need be. It is best to take your time when you start to work the steps on your own.

You are never "done" with these steps. As you will see, some of them you can do daily to stay balanced. There are some we call the Maintenance Steps, which we'll talk about later as we come to them.

I am looking forward to teaching you a great way to live so you can have Peace and Serenity in your lives.
emoticon from Elayne

P.S. I have had experience with the Twelve Step Program for 20 years when I worked with alcoholics and addicts in a 28 day in house recovery program at a private psychiatric hospital. I taught classes on the steps, as well as facilitated family groups and education groups. I worked with food addicts and worked on the Women's Unit which consisted of those who had been abused in all ways. We had what was called a Co-dependent program which taught women how to become independent and how to take back their power and self-esteem. The definition of a Co-dependent is one who puts everyone else first ad themselves last to the degree that they harm themselves. They neglect their own needs and feel less than important. They feel they don't matter.

I only mention all of this so you will know I have been there and I know what the steps and the program is all about because I have lived it. God has placed me where I could help others with their problems through my own experience. This is why I believe God has placed me here on Spark as my ministry to give and receive help through the web. It is an honor and a privilege to be here with all of you.

Let me close with the Step 1 Prayer taken from The 23 Strep Prayer Book.

Today, I ask for help with my addiction. Denial has kept me from seeing how powerless I am and how my life is unmanageable. I need to learn and remember that I have an incurable illness and that abstinence is the only way to deal with it. A-men

(Remember, food, as in overeating and feeding our emotions, is an addiction)



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Edited by: SENIORSAXLADY at: 4/19/2009 (14:33)
Elayne from the west coast of Fl.

"Music is the original mood-altering, non-fattening wonder drug. Ask your doctor if Music is right for you."



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3/31/09 10:50 P

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You're welcome. It's good for me too because it keeps me humble and helps me realize what I still need to work on and how I need God in my life constantly.

Elayne from the west coast of Fl.

"Music is the original mood-altering, non-fattening wonder drug. Ask your doctor if Music is right for you."



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Good. Maybe I can keep up next time.

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